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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    December 24, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> on tomorrow morning's "washington journal." cachexia on tomorrow's washington journal, and look at the biggest political stories of 2012 with juan williams. "washington journal" every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> i think that there was no -- it was promoted within a certain articles of politics. joe, who created the show,
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created with no agenda. the idea that there was a -- an agenda, that it was somehow a midwife to a public policy on the course of interrogation was absurd. it is absurd. which is to say that -- which is not to say that if there was an issue, is our content was affecting the behavior of interrogators in the field, even if it was 0.05% of interrogators taking their cues from jack bauer, it was a systemic problem and i suggest that we try to intervene on behalf of those people. but to suggest that -- this is a television show. i may be pollyanna-ish about this, but the fact that 24 became the political football that became for a while was a very valuable thing.
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>> tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c- span, how movies and television portrayed policy and policy making. -- politics and policy making. and i 10:50 p.m., singer/songwriter james taylor. >> the taping was top secret. it seems the only people who knew for certain of its existence for my father, the secretary, and the secret service agent who installed it. that is, until provident -- until president nixon made the idea of white house taping famous. [laughter] and other presidential recording systems were revealed. against the backdrop of water grade, -- of watergate, the concept of secretly taping can be controversial. we hear tense confrontations of
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the civil rights movement and a life or death decisions being made during the cuban missile crisis. >> caroline kennedy in a discussion in the 1962 recordings of the late president in the oval office. tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern as a book tv continues on c-span2. >> the senate returns for legislative session on thursday. the house has a pro forma session scheduled that day. it will work on two bills. the first is on the fisa act. the other is a relief package for those areas affected by hurricane sandy. live work on the senate are companion network c-span2. and discussions continue over
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the so-called fiscal cliff. negotiations continue. nobel laureate and a burmese opposition leader aung san suu kyi accepted the congressional gold medal in september. she said it represents the aspirations of the burmese people for a democratic transition. we will also hear from secretary of state hillary clinton and former first lady laura bush. >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. >> ladies and all men, good afternoon and welcome to the capital. this is a great day for the american people, and we are happy to welcome you here today. gold medals are the highest
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level of appreciation for distinguished achievement. the first congressional gold medal was awarded to general george washington in 1776 for liberating the city of boston. today, we will present a congressional gold medal to aung san suu kyi in recognition of her efforts to liberate the people of burma. today, we celebrate her steadfast commitment to democracy, stability, and human dignity, and we do so in a manner worthy of her ideals. nancy pelosi initiated the measure of awarding this metal and republican george w. bush signed into law. his wife, former first lady laura bush, is with us today, as is her predecessor, secretary
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of state hillary clinton. coming together in mutual respect, a step from the chambers where we passionately debate the issues of the day that has become almost second nature to us. but it is a blessing, and we will hear over and over during the course of this ceremony, aung san suu kyi has shown the world just how hard one it really is. on behalf of the congress, let me express how humble and honored we are by your presence here in the rotunda of the united states capitol. >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of the callers by the united states armed forces color guard, the singing of our national anthem, and the retiring of the colors.
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♪ ♪ ♪ oh say can you see by the
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dawn's early light, what so proudly we hail at the twilight's last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming, and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, i gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing as the chaplain of the united states house of representatives, the rev. patrick convoy, and gives the -- rev. patrick conroy gives the invocation. >> let us pray. god of the universe, we give you thanks for the gift of life and for the many blessings that life brings. today, we gather in this hallowed temple to representative government dedicated to the enjoyment of life and its blessings by its citizens, to honor aung san suu kyi. we are honored by her presence and her heroic witness to the dignity of each person, most
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especially in her native land of burma. her story is known to all, her example among the greatest of our time, of all time. we ask that as we come together to honor her, you bless our gathering. may we all be emboldened to give of our life as she has done, to stand up for human freedom wherever it may be denied. and bless her most noble of causes. move the hearts of those who would deny freedom to her and to the people of burma. may our actions today add to the universal out cry for justice and freedom so that the blessings of life will burst forth for the citizens of aung
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san suu kyi's need of burma. -- native burma. god bless the nation of burma and bless the united states of america. amen. >> please be seated. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable joseph crowley, representative of the seventh district of new york. >> thank you speaker and reverend conroy. thank you to all of my colleagues here today as well as the distinguished senators here with us. mrs. bush and madam secretary,
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our thanks and appreciation to both of you for not only taking the time to be here today, but for your many contributions to this effort and for your commitment to advancing the cause of freedom and democracy in burma. i would be remiss if i did not also mentioned someone who is not with us here today and that is congressman tom lantos. he and his staff worked so hard on burma for so many years. i wish you were here today to share this moment in history with us. today is an amazing day. today is an incredible day. who would have thought that when this bill was introduced in the house in 2008, when aung san suu kyi was still under house arrest, that in a few short years she would be standing or sitting here with us on u.s. soil receiving this honor, and
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as a member of the burmese parliament? back then we thought about granting the medal in absentia, which may have been the first time in history that a person would have received it while in detention. who would have thought this change was possible? who would have thought this could happen? let me tell you one who believed it could come true, and that is aung san suu kyi herself. she might be too humble to admit it, but i know that she always thought this day, this moment would be possible. not because she is someone who worries about awards or honors, because i can tell you she certainly does not. she believed it because she and
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the burmese people always believed that change was possible. they hoped, they fought, the new change must come to their country. she knew the burmese people yearn for human rights and most importantly deserve democratic governance. she stoked the flames in a peaceful way for lasting change. even amongst those already in a position of power. her efforts have helped lead us where we are today. there has been a lot of advancement made in burma over the last two years. we must recognize and give thanks to all those who have had the courage to help lead and support the change in burma, including those in the current government. we also must honor those who made the great sacrifices, in prison, lives lost, to get to where we are today. far too many have played too high a price in the effort to bring about freedom and
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democratic governance in burma. it is with those people in mind, those who have sacrificed so much, that we knowledge the work -- that we acknowledge the work that is not done yet. we must be sure that momentum unfolds into sustained progress, into permanent freedoms and solidified democracy, because as much as i would like to believe that the change in burma that has occurred is irreversible, as much as i would like to revel in blind optimism and believe that the battle is won, it is not yet. the tides can reverse if we do not remain vigilant in the demand for progress. but let there be no doubt, today is a moment of joy, a moment to honor a genuine hero or heroine, someone who has
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endured solitude, someone who was then forced to watch others suffer, someone who has put country before self, someone who has inspired millions to stand up for justice, someone who has given voice to a movement, someone who has led with the unwavering commitment. that person is daw aung san suu kyi, and we are so very proud to stand here and honor you today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the representative from the 16th district of illinois, the
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honorable donald mannsulo. >> distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, my family, i come before you today to humbly welcome a legendary human- rights champion to a ceremony many of us never thought would happen. ...i worked on the committee to give the gold medal in the year when aung san suu kyi was in her 13th year of arrest. incarcerated for exercising freedom of speech and daring to challenge a military junta.
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your presence here today is nothing short of a miracle. but patriots succeed because of miracles. the sound of freedom can never be silenced. it is a testament to the incredible strength of your convictions and to the depth of your aspirations for burma to achieve democracy. it means so much to all of your supporters that you have made the time to visit us. aung san suu kyi needs no introduction because there really are no words that can adequately describe the sacrifice that this woman has endured for over 15 years. we all know the incredible story of her dedication and her love for her beloved homeland and its people, but underneath the public face, there is a daughter, a mother, a beloved companion who put everything she held here on the line to fight injustice and oppression.
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there are no awards that replaced the time lost or the pain into word, but this time -- or erase the pain in third -- endured. but this time lost must not and will not be in vain. we must follow the example set by aung san suu kyi and continued to fight oppression wherever it rears its ugly head. we gather today not only to praise her accomplishments, but to bring to light the anguish and suffering of all those around the world to continue to suffer. we must not forget the decisions made in washington have a real and lasting impact
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on individuals around the world. aung san suu kyi, let me congratulate you on making a tremendous difference in burma and in the rest of the world. you are a true inspiration for all of us. as the leader of the opposition, your responsibilities were significant, but in my opinion, there is nothing you cannot accomplish. when you addressed the subcommittee via video last year, i was overcome by your resolve and spirit. you asked the congress to support burma and her people and i am happy to report that we have not failed you. [applause] >> ladies and gentleman, the senator from the state of california, the honorable dianne feinstein. >> mr. speaker, leader pelosi, mrs. bush, leader reed, leader
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mcconnell, secretary of state hillary clinton and my colleagues in government, this is a special day to honor a special person in a special place. for many years, i have followed the tragedies and victories of this uncommonly courageous and persistent woman. in 1988, she quickly rose to be the voice of democracy in burma, creating the national league for democracy. elections followed in 1990, where her party won 80% of the seats. that joy quickly turned to tragedy. the military junta nullified the election and arrested aung san suu kyi. she would spend the better part of two decades under house arrest, unable even to visit her dying husband. in 1996, i recall being approached to sponsor a burma sanctions bill. sanctions were put in place in
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1997 andsanctions were only loosened in july of this year. senator mcconnell later became one of aung san suu kyi's chief advocates in the senate and we continued to work on behalf of the people in burma. in 2003, following an assassination attempt, senator mcconnell and i worked to pass an important and that remains in -- that remainsban in place today, an effort to bring about further reform. and i must say, burma is extremely lucky to have a champion mike aung san suu kyi. -- like on songs hoochy like aung san suu kyi -- like aung san suu kyi.
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in the face of violence, harassment, intimidation, she has never wavered in her pursuit of human rights. she celebrates the release of political prisoners, including the approximately 90 released this week, but she remains true to those still behind bars, estimated to be around twothis woman sacrifice years of her life to bring about these changes. she is truly an inspiration to the world. you are so well deserving of this gold medal. i can only begin to express my happiness that we are able to present this to you today in this very special place, a very special woman. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentleman, the senator from the state of arizona, the honorable john mccain. >> at my age, i try to be realistic about how many more times i will be surprised by a wonderful and unexpected turn of events. i might of hope, but i am not --
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i might have hoped, but i am not sure i expected that one day i would have be honor of welcoming my personal hero, aung san suu kyi, to the congress of the united states, that she would be able to travel abroad without fear of being barred from returning to the country that she loves and served so well. i consider myself very fortunate to have lived to see this day and to know the people of burma, whose dignity and rights aung san suu kyi has sacrificed so much to defend, and will one day be free to live with liberty, justice and hope. it is a testament to the courage of the burmese people and the person they call simply "the lady," that that day is approaching. i have known quite a few brave and inspiring people, but none more so than the woman we honor today. i first met her 15 years ago when she was permitted to leave her house briefly to speak to
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me in rangoon. i was not prepared for her. she was exquisitely polite and graceful. she spoke softly and calmly, the picture of gentleness and serenity. is this the woman, i asked myself, who has managed somehow to cause so much trouble for the powerful, violent, unlawful men who have managed to rule this country? men who are so befuddled by the powerful, violent, unlawful unprofitable -- unplacable of this gentle lady.
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they have attacked her, and shelter, threatened her, isolated her, kept her family from her. they have done all that, done all that could be done to break her spirit and her will to resist. but as a union soldier once noted about u.s. grant as he sat on his horse placidly while shells exploded around him, aung san suu kyi did not scare worth a damn. "it is not power that corrupts," she said, "but fear." fear of those who are wielding -- fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of those who are subject to it. -- and fear of this scourged of power corrupts those who are subject to it. they have attacked her, and shelter, threatened her, isolated her, kept her family from her. they have done all that, done all that could be done toaung se afraid, and that, my friends, is the most powerful resistance human beings are capable of. i want to thank you my friend, the lady, for teaching me at my age a thing or two about courage, and for reminding me to always expect justice to triumph over injustice, goodness over evil, love over hate.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the former first lady of the united states, mrs. laura bush. [applause] >> i want to thank the united states congress for allowing me to add my voice to the global chorus of honors for aung san suu kyi and to send along the deep respect of my husband george as well. the transition and burma, like
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-- the transition in burma, like past events in south africa or eastern europe, shows that history has a hopeful direction. it is capable of miracles. there is a part of every soul that longs for freedom, and any government built on oppression is built on sand. but as has been demonstrated, a vast historical changes often -- because mandela and havel demonstrated, vast historical changes often begin in a single mind, a single heart. any hope that now grows in burma is a tribute to daw suu. one of the most powerful governments on earth tried to silence one woman. it must have seemed an easy task, but instead, it was broken by her character. she became a symbol of courage.
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her perseverance and violence -- defiance were a symbol that integrity was still possible in burma, and a symbol became an inspiration for activists, months, and millions around the world. when her long isolation ended, some of us had finally met her in person and found not a symbol, but a woman of tremendous humor, honesty and grace period that has only -- and race. -- and grace. and that has only increased our admiration. when political prisoners are freed and normal political life revives, it is the start of a new task. patience. now it needs her wisdom and leadership in the work of reform and reconciliation. her contribution to burma is decades old and just beginning. today our country honors an
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exceptional woman who became the mother of her country and we pledge our support in the work ahead. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [applause] >> it is an historic opportunity to be here today with aung san suu kyi as she is awarded the congressional gold medal, the highest honor congress can bestow. i join my colleagues in thanking aung san suu kyi for her unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence and democracy
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in burma. i associate myself with his remarks in praise of our former colleague chairman tom lantos and his family's efforts on behalf of this occasion today. it is appropriate to honor also the many burmese democracy supporters, many from california, senator feinstein, who are here with us today. we take this opportunity to remember those who have suffered so much, including the burmese students, national league of democracy party members, and other supporters who fought for democracy in 1988. members of the burmese parliament in exile who have worked tirelessly from abroad. the buddhist monks who courageously rose up in the saffron revolution in 2007, and be internally displaced and ethnic minorities who have
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endured so much poverty and conflict. today, as we bestow the congressional gold medal on aung san suu kyi, we honor them all with this ceremony in this cabinet. -- in the rotunda of the united states capitol. it does not seem that long ago that women leaders of congress gathered to honor aung san suu kyi on her 50th birthday. she could not be with us on monday, but secretary of state -- that day, but the secretary of state madeleine albright was, and we're glad she is able to join us again. we all hope that we could sing happy birthday so loudly that you could hear as. it is important that you know how well we wish you, but we also one of the leaders in burma -- we also wanted the leaders in burma to know how strongly we felt about you as well as how hard we were willing to fight
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for you. mr. speaker, i know i can say that i speak for all here today when i say that our hearts are full of joy, full of joy to celebrate aung san suu kyi's leadership and her presence. is indeed an honor to be in her presence. her presence here today is remarkable. when we passed the gold medal legislation in 2008, as was said, we thought it may be given in absentia. but aung san suu kyi knew better. we knew that if we waited a bit, we could celebrate in this way. it is a symbol of the progress and burma. -- in burma. it is a sign of the bond between her and the united states. more than 15 years ago, she said to the world, please use your liberty to promote hours.
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-- to promote ours. with sanctions and boycotts, with rallies and legislation and with direct dialogue and engagement, we did. the obama administration and secretary clinton are to be commended for their policy of engagement that has produced real progress on the long road toward democracy. what an honor for us that the secretary is here. what a great honor for us that mrs. bush's here bringing the greetings of president bush. the united states has stood and stands for the freedom seeking people of burma in there just cause. i'm proud to say that northern california is home to the largest burmese population in the nation. the new yorkers think they might be. we are not competitive around here. [laughter] buddhism and its nonviolent -- the san francisco has been a leader for supporting democracy
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in burma and in supporting aung san suu kyi. buddhism and its non-violence tradition has been a source of strength for the nonviolent democracy movement in burma. but aung san suu kyi has seen her supporters beaten, tortured and killed. she has never responded with hatred and violence. she has asked only for peaceful dialogue and progress for democracy. she has always believed that the need for democracy for all the people of burma was more important than her personal need. indeed, she made great personal sacrifices in terms of her own family as senator feinstein pointed out. one admirer described her as a seeker, a seoul pilgrim, one that makes her life a vehicle for a deeper awakening to truth. aung san suu kyi walks in the footsteps of her beloved father
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and the giants of history. for her personal sacrifice, for her inner strength, for her love of burma and its people, and for being an example of strength and courage to the world, today we are proud to honor her with the congressional gold medal, the highest honor congress can bestow. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the republican leader of the united states senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. [applause] >> over the years, we have recognized many remarkable men and women in this place of honor, all of them extraordinary. it would be foolish to try to
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make comparisons among them. yet for me at least, today's ceremony is particularly meaningful. i first came to know of the woman we honor today more than two decades ago. i came across an article that told a story of her struggle. from that moment on, i have felt compelled in my own small way to make that cause my own. it was impossible not to be moved by her quiet resolve, her hidden luminesce heroism, and it is impossible today, all these years later, not to be moved by the thought that the is most unlikely revolutionaries may witness the deepest longing of her heart, a representative
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democratic system in which the people of burma are able to finally enjoy their god-given rights. it is in this hope that we stand today with the people of burma and with aung san suu kyi, knowing that whatever the future holds, she will fight unflinchingly to the end. here in this place, surrounded by the statues of our own national heroes of independence and equality, we draw new inspiration from this courageous woman from a distant
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land. she reminds us that the freedoms we enjoy are not just our birthright as americans, they are the aspiration of all men and women, and defending them will always require the kind of courage she has shown throughout her long and difficult struggle for the people of burma. there are many examples of the courage, but i think my favorite place on august 26th, 1988. aung san suu kyi was about to make her very public debut with a speech to more than a half a million people, and someone asked her did she want to wear a bulletproof vest. why, she answered. if i was afraid of being killed, i would never speak out against the government. it is easy to fire from behind
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a mask or a tank or behind a mob. the woman we honor today chose a far more difficult path, the path of mahatma gandhi, of martin luther king, of peaceful resistance, a civil disobedience, a voluntary renunciation of the future she -- involuntary renunciation of for the sake of future generations would never know. -- a voluntary renunciation for the
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sake of future generations she would never know. it was not the life she wanted, but she knew her calling. and she has been faithful. we're honored today to stand with you, my friend, for the noble cause that you embodied. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. >> today the people of burma and the united states honor aung san suu kyi. her personal sacrifice and her dedication to spreading freedom and justice not only in burma but in the world. even when it meant separation from her family, when it meant being a part from her husband at the hour of his death, aung san suu kyi has remained true to her cause. today i also recognize my
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colleague, republican leader mitch mcconnell. i have stood next to him on the senate floor now for a long time, and there is no cause for which he has been more pronounced in doing something about than aung san suu kyi and burma. i extend my congratulations, my admiration and i applaud him for his good work. he has been a long standing advocate in the united states to focus on burma and what is wrong there with the ruling junta. he co-sponsored the economic sanctions bill that helped push the regime toward freedom. sometimes people think it is hard for the two parties of congress to find common ground. lots of times it is. but i am pleased that where the burma policy is concerned, there has been no split between
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democrats and republicans. i'm grateful to senator mcconnell for his leadership on this issue, not just for the last few days or months, but for two decades. i also commend secretary clinton and the many foreign service as operatives who dedicate their time and talents to liberty abroad. state department officials often put their lives on the line as they worked to spread democracy around the globe. as we honor aung san suu kyi today, i also express our gratitude to all those who work towards freedom and peace. burma has made strides toward freedom for all its people. but there is more work to be done, and she will tell you that, more work to be done to ensure that no one in burma will live in the political oppression or ethnic violence. elections are an important step
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toward that goal. her release from house arrest is another. but as she has said, "one prisoner of conscience is too many." until the burmese people live under a fully democratic government that is transparent and respects the rule of law, we must continue to push for reform. as she said in oslo as she expected the nobel peace prize, -- ishee accepted the nobel peace prize, -- as she accepted the nobel peace prize, "the piece of our world is indivisible. -- the peace of our world is indivisible. as long as negative forces are getting better of forces anywhere, we are all at risk." free nations owe a debt of gratitude to the brave souls who put their lives on the line for democracy and freedom.
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there is no better example of that than the guest we have here today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the united states secretary of state, the honorable hillary rodham clinton. [applause] >> seventeen years ago, as we were in beijing on behalf of the un conference concerning the rights of women, we thought about many of the women around the world who could not be with us but whose presence was a strong message of the values that we were promoting, values that were not just american
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values, but universal values. madeleine albright left that conference in beijing taking with her a poster signed by all the americans and a few others who we gave the opportunity to sign to take that poster to burma to give to aung san suu kyi, to let her know once again that there were many of us around the world supporting her in her cause, remembering her personally. when i was a member of the senate and privileged to vote for the bill that we now see come to fruition in 2008, i never imagined that a year
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later i would be secretary of state. but i was so pleased to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues, my former colleagues, in thinking about a new approach that the united states might take to try to see if there were any way to help move a transition forward, not only in honor of and furtherance of daw suu kyi's life's work, but for the people of burma. i reached out to joe crowley and congressman manzullo and my friends dianne feinstein, john mccain, and mitch mcconnell. i went to see senator mcconnell in his office. i said, "mitch, what do you think about seeing whether there is any opening
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whatsoever?" and i was so pleased when he said, "well, let's give it a try. let's be careful. let's proceed judiciously." on the way out of his office, he stopped and showed me a letter from suu kyi to him. we knew that at some point change would have to come, but whether it would be a year, a decade, or longer, no one could predict. but very carefully, in close consultation with the congress, we began sending assistant secretary campbell and then now-ambassador derek mitchell in let's be careful. the position created by the congress of special envoy, listening, probing, seeing whether there was something happening.
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and slowly change started. and of course, when the house arrest was finally lifted and the voice of this remarkable woman could be heard more broadly, we knew that the united states had to be not only supporting the change, but carefully nurturing it to ensure that it did not end up being hijacked, detoured. today, we are joined by a representative from the president of burma, and we welcome u aung min. we are joined by the new
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ambassador from burma, than swe. and we are joined not only by a fearless champion of human rights and democracy, but a member of parliament. it's almost too delicious to believe, my friend, that you are here in the rotunda of our great capitol, the centerpiece of our democracy, as an elected member of your parliament - [applause] - and as, leader pelosi, the leader of the political opposition, the leader of a political party.
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i am so deeply moved by what she has stood for and what she has represented, first and foremost for the people of her country, but for people everywhere who yearn for freedom, whose voices deserve to be heard. but i am also very impressed that she was not satisfied upon the release from house arrest to remain an advocate, a symbol, an icon. in many ways, that would have been the easiest path to take, because if anyone understands how difficult politics is anywhere in the world, it is all of us in this chamber today.
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the to and fro of making decisions of compromise, of reaching agreement with people that you don't agree with -- and in her case, people who were her former jailers -- is a great testament to her courage and fortitude and understanding of what burma needs now. last december, i had the great honor of visiting with her in the house by the lake where she was confined for many years. as we walked around that house and through the rooms, i remembered another visit i had made years before with nelson mandela showing me his prison cell on robben island.
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these two political prisoners were separated by great distances, but they were both marked by uncommon grace, generosity of spirit, and unshakable will. and they both understood something that i think we all have to grasp: the day they walked out of prison, the day the house arrest was ended, was not the end of the struggle. it was the beginning of a new phase. overcoming the past, healing a wounded country, building a democracy, would require moving from icon to politician. in a time when politics and
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politicians are sometimes the objects of criticism and even disdain, it is well for us to remember people fight and die for the right to exercise politics, to be part of a politicians are sometimes democracy, to make decisions peacefully, without resorting to the gun. that work of building democracy never ends, not here in the seat of the oldest democracy in the world, or in a country like burma in its new capital of nay pyi taw, where the speaker of the lower house where suu kyi now serves said to me, "help us learn how to be a democratic congress, a parliament."
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he went on to tell me that they were trying to teach themselves by watching old segments of the west wing. [laughter] i said, "i think we can do better than that, mr. speaker." so as we honor her, a time decit many of us feared would never happen, it's good to recognize that one phase of her work may be over, but another phase, equally important, is just beginning. and that the united states will stand with her, with the president of burma and those who are reformers in the executive branch and the legislative branch, with the activists, with civil society, as they fan the flickers of democratic progress and press
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forward with reform. and we wish them all godspeed. [applause] >> ladies and common, the -- ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, let me say thank you -- thank you to all of you. let me thank secretary clinton, mrs. bush, my fellow leaders, and all my colleagues for their testimonials. one leader in particular, i
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think, deserves recognition for his extraordinary devotion to this cause. and that is my good friend mitch mcconnell. in a few minutes, we will present ms. suu kyi with the gold medal. what an honor for a woman whose name means "strange collection of bright victories." today, because of her -- nearly a quarter-century ago, she invited the country and of to theher's leadership popular creed. today, because of her sacrifices, that invitation still stands. upright victory in seed and one
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we will celebrate today. as we do, we can look ahead with a renewed sense of purpose. we give this metal as a symbol of our highest honors, but also our highest hopes. the path for freedom does not -- is not easy to find. it takes a long, winding road. setbacks are many and america has known its fair share. but so long as the search party is led by men and women who refuse to given to fear or doubt, who refused to give up their identity, their dignity, that gleam in their eye, we will get their. rudyard kipling once wrote "all we use or know, this our fathers bought for us, long and long ago." the way is a difficult and often lonely path. with this gold medal, the for her.
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may it serve as a high and a shining beacon of our commitment to a future of good health and bright victories. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated for the unveiling and presentation of the congressional gold medal by members of the united states congress. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable aung san suu kyi.
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[applause] >> this is one of the most moving days of my life, to be here in the house undivided, a
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house joined together to welcome strangers from a distant land. and yet i do not feel myself to be a stranger, because i see many familiar faces and faces that are new to me, but i have known to what they have done for my country and for our cause. this is a moment for which i have been waiting for many years. there are some i saw while i
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was under house arrest and some i saw after i was released. in all the phases of my life, i have been accompanied by friends. so, it is worth the years of waiting. the great honor that you have conferred to me will be a lasting memento of the steadfast support of the united states congress, of the democratic aspirations of my people. from the deaths -- depths of my heart i think the american people and you, the representatives, for keeping us in your hearts and minds during the dark years when freedom and justice seemed beyond our reach. so many of you have done so much to uphold our cause. it would take me more than one afternoon to recite all your names, those i hold dear in
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appreciation and gratitude. however, i would like to mention the name of one man who i wish could have been with us today. tom. i am sorry i have arrived too late to meet him, to take his hand and say thank you for what you did for us. thank you for being the man you are. i never had a chance to meet him, but i shall always remember him was gratitude. i stand here now stronger in the knowledge that i am among friends who will stand with us as we continue our task of
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building a nation that offers peace and prosperity and basic human rights protected by the rule of law to all who dwell within its borders. much talk has been made of the reform measures instituted by our president. our president is very young and the vast majority of our people are committed to democratic values that will allow us to fulfill our potential and take our place in the modern world. i am particularly encouraged by the presence of the minister, who has been leading peace talks in our country, and whose presence reinforces my faith in the future of reform and reconciliation. there will be difficulties in the way ahead. [applause] there will be difficulties in the way ahead. but i am confident that we shall be able to overcome all
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obstacles with the help and support of our friends. the ties of friendship and understanding that have developed between you, the representatives of the most powerful democracy in the world, lovers of democracy in burma, compensate for much of the trials we have had to suffer over the past decade's. these ties are strengthened as we work together to achieve our common goal. how privileged i am to be with you today. there are many who are not enjoying this privilege yet, and these are the people we need to remember, not just those in my country, but everywhere in the world where freedom is yet a dream. i believe i speak not just for myself, but for many of my colleagues and for my people when i say made today be the inauguration of many days and
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years of joy and hope to come for the people of the united states and burma and other peoples the world over who are united in the desire for harmony, security, and liberty. it has always been my opinion that democracy offers the best balance between freedom and security for all of us. to be a whole human being, we need security and freedom. without security, we cannot rest in the peace necessary to discover the world to be the beautiful place that it can be. without freedom, also, we would be deprived of the many
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opportunities that would make us more human and more humane. for this reason, i have always adhered to the principles and values of democracy. no doubt it is not perfect. there is no such thing as a perfect system, invented by we human beings who are so riddled with imperfections. and yet come up in spite of the imperfections, democracy remains a beacon of hope for all of us. we have been united from many parts of the world by our confidence in democracy. as i go forward with my countrymen and women along the difficult path of building a truly democratic society where
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all our people can live together in peace, remembering also always the burma is a nation of many national and ethnic minorities and peoples, we believe we can go forward in unity and peace and give our friends the satisfaction of helping us to get to the place where all the people's wish to get stare. a place where dreams are realized. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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chaplain of the united states senate for the benediction. >> let us pray. god whose glory fills the sky, triumphed o'er the shades of nights, lord, thank you for this congressional gold medal
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ceremony and the opportunity we have had to honor a woman of excellence, aung san suu kyi. we praise you for her passion for freedom, for her willingness to sacrifice for truth, and for her courage to clean to her convictions. may her compassion, courage, and competence challenge us when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams come true simply because we have dreamed too little. may her sacrifice, daring, and persistence inspire us to rise
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to the challenge of the needs of our world and to do it by making new commitments followed by faithful service to you and humankind. lord, make us strong in your strength, and lead us into a future fuelled by faith, focus, and fortitude. we pray in your sovereign name, amen. >> please be seated. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your seats for the departure of the official party.
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>> c-span spoke with to read -- retiring lawmakers. mr. burton and kent conrad served congress had chaired the house oversight committee. senator conrad has been in office for 20 years and shares the senate budget committee. our interview with congressman burton is at 8:00 wednesday night with senator conrad after that. the senate returns for legislative business on thursday and the house has the session scheduled that day. the work on two bills. the first would extend provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, the other is a relief package for areas affected by hurricane sandy. you can follow live coverage.
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house members are on standby as negotiations continue over the fiscal cliff. host: our series on the fiscal cliff continues this morning with a dive into social security. here to talk about the program and how it is involved in the discussions and the negotiations over america's financial future, is stephen ohlemacher, joining us from the associated press, where he is a reporter. thank you for being here. guest: thank you. host: how many people in america receive social security? guest: a little bit more than 56 million people get social security. the average benefit is a little over $1,200 a month. so maybe it is like $13,000, $14,000 a year. host: we're talking about retirees but also the disabled. guest: yes, fairly wide group of people get social security
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benefits, retired workers, spouses, children, disabled workers, widows, widowers. it is a fairly big social safety net of people who get social security benefits. host: as you mentioned about 56 million the retirees received a $1,2 a month. there is also the s.s.i. about $500 a month. how does social security get financed? guest: it has been a self funded program. it is funded by payroll taxes. there's a 12.4% tax on wages up to about $110,000. you make more than that then any money you make over that is not taxed for social security. it is divided equally between your employer and the worker.
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for the past two years, the workers share has been reduced. that has saved, by the way, if you are an average worker that is $1,000 tax cut. host: we can see in this pie chart where that money comes from. payroll taxes making nearly 83% and interest and taxation of benefits. we see the payouts. benefits, 90% of the money spent goes to benefits and administrative expenses and retirement. what are some of the other numbers we're seeing? guest: the interest is from the trust fund. so when the last time social security in 1983 they put in a system that generated more
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money in tax revenue than were being paid out in benefits. a trust fund was built up. so when social security had that additional money, the treasury holds it. they invest it in treasury bonds and those bonds earn interest. that is where that big portion of your income for the trust fund comes from the interest. if you get benefits above a certain amount those are also taxed. host: as you mentioned that trust fund $2.6 trillion we also see disability insurance. guest: yes, social security is not just a retirement program but also for disabled workers. if you are disabled and the government's definition is if you have a disability that prevents you from working and that condition is going to last at least a year then you can apply and get social security benefits as well. it is not easy to get them.
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that program is a lot more complicated than the retirement program. it is a social insurance program so much, it is not just a retirement program. host: how does social security factor into this fiscal cliff negotiation process? guest: the republicans put together a plan in the last few weeks to change the way the annual cost of living adjustment is calculated for social security beneficiaries. it is the annual increase in benefits that people get in their monthly payments, it is usually annual, this coming year for instance, next month in january they are scheduled to get a 1.7% increase in benefits. that is based on a government measure of inflation. for social security they use the consumer price index. there is a new measure of inflation that the government has been considering for a while. on average, it is a little bit lower. it reflects a lower level of
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inflation than what the government has been using up until now. on average they tell us that the kola would be about .03% less. last year the increase was 3.6%. that's the biggest effective of adopting this new measure of inflation that the republicans put on the table. the reason why we're focusing on this and a lot of groups have been focusing on this is that the president, he agreed to because a year and half ago they were in talks. the talks fell apart. nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.
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however, the president put on the table this idea. so we have the president who has supported this in the past. we have the speaker of the house who supports it now. it makes it in play. our other political dynamics on capitol hill that make it a lot more difficult to adopt. this is a very subtle thing to do to change the way the government measures cpi, but it has far ranging effects, effect that go far beyond social security. if it is projected to raise about $200 billion over the next 10 years. if they adopted it across a whole government, it would affect taxes over time. every year our tax brackets are adjusted for inflation. if they are adjusted a little less each year, as you make more money, you would move into a new tax bracket and you get a tax increase. it's about $60 billion tax increase over the next 10 years. it could affect anti-party programs. the amount of money that you can make and be under the party line is adjusted each year for inflation during that would go up less each year, and that
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would mean fewer people would qualify for anti-poverty programs. the idea saves money. not that much money a first, but it saves a lot of money over time. all over $200 billion in the first year and more after that. advocates for older americans don't like this idea very much. the savings are so big and that means they're getting less money each month in their benefits. host: there's the question of what it would mean for retirees, beneficiaries right now, in the next couple years, and in the future. and the proceeded of what it would mean across the government. what do democrats a about this?
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guest: congressman larson, you heard what he said about includes social security in these talks. that is a common belief among democrats on the hill, in the house and senate. it would be a very hard sell. one of the things i have been seeing since the talks started is a lot of focus on whether republicans would agree to raising the tax rates. if they ever did, what gets lost in the discretion is what democrats would have to give up. presumably, republicans would want deep cuts in entitlement programs. it's not clear democrats would be on board. senator harry reid in the senate has said social security should not be part of this. so has nancy pelosi, the democratic leader in the house. host: does the cola change depending on where you live in the country? guest: it is across the board for everyone. it is a percentage. it depends on how big your benefits are every year. you cited average numbers of about $1,200 a month for a retired worker. a lot of people get more and some get less.
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the dollar amount for your increase would change depending on that, but the percentage increase is the same a matter where you live in the country. host: we are talking about social security and how would factors into the so called "fiscal cliff." if you would like to join the conversation, here are the >> our guest is eli lake. and the biggest political stories of 2012 with fox news political analyst juan williams. headlines and phone calls every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c- span. >> i like the variety of programs on c-span. the debates, i like to catch those when they are available.
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i do watch the political call-in programs as well. various positions from republicans, independents, democrats. see what folks are thinking around the country. i think it is fair and impartial. because it is the full spectrum of what the political scene is. >> dennis dorsey watches c-span on comcast. created by american oppose the cable companies in 1979, brought to you by your television provider as a public service. >> as president obama begins his second term, what is the most important issue. >> make a short video about your message to the president.
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>> with your chance to win a grand prize of $5,000. $50,000 in total prizes. >> michele obama welcome to military families to the white house for the first night of holiday decorations in november. she spoke for about 50 minutes. -- 15 minutes. [applause] >> hi, everyone. welcome to the white house. pretty cool, huh? yeah. let me start by thanking jennifer for that lovely introduction and to welcome her family here as well -- her father and her husband. we are so grateful for your service and glad you could be here. thank you, jennifer, for everything that you and your
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family have done for this country and what you have done to help make this house as beautiful as it is. as first lady, you know that i have had the privilege of traveling across this country. one of the best things i get to do is to meet with all of the wonderful military families, like jennifer's family and your families. it is an honor to host you all here today at the white house -- yeah, the cool house. i like it. i have said this many times before -- i will say it again because i cannot say it enough -- our military families truly represent the very best that this country has to offer. i have seen it up-close. you all do so much for this country. you do it with such amazing poise and grace.
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you all are outstanding neighbors. you are just phenomenal, focused parents. you are tremendous co-workers and community leaders in your own rights. you all do this under such extraordinary circumstances. many of you are doing it while moving from base to base every couple of years, enduring all of those months of long deployments with love once serving oftentimes halfway around the world. then there are our military kids. you guys look gorgeous and handsome today. and very clean. [laughter] and we will try to change that. we will have a sugar and glue and stuff like that. it will be ok, moms and dads, because the photos will have been done, so they can get messy and get the cookies around their mouths. you guys are very brave. you are tremendous heroes in your own rights because we know
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how hard it was for you all were to adjust to all of the changes that go on in your life. how many new schools have you guys been? give me some numbers. how many schools have you been to? four? how old are you? 10. four years, 10 years old. that is typical. you meet these kids. they have been to so many schools but they are adjusting, keeping their grades up. right? i can tell. you are an a student. so many of them step up and handle your business while mom or dad is away. i want you all to no how proud we are. we think you are pretty amazing
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individuals. i know you may not feel that way, but you are special. we are so happy to have you here. we are grateful for your sacrifice. we are grateful for your service. that is why we want to invite all of you here today. to say thank you. this is one big huge thank-you from me to you all. we have on some wonderful ways to pay tribute to your service and sacrifice. as an important part of our holiday decorating effort here at the white house and it starts the minute visitors walk to the white house for their tours. the first thing they see, the very first tree, honest our men and women in uniform for the extraordinary sacrifice they and their families have made. thanks to several of you here today, this tree is now decorated with special gold star ornaments, bearing the names of some of america's greatest heroes, those who gave
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their lives for our country. in the gold star family who visits the white house during this season will have opportunity to decorate their own armament and hang it on the very tree -their own ornament and hang it on the holiday tree. also operation on our current. these cards are used to pledge individual service to their community in honor of our military family service members and veterans. guests will be able to write a note expressing their gratitude for the service that all of you have given to this country. we are also honoring our military families with some very special decorations on the official white house christmas tree that is in the blue room. the biggest in the house. it stands close to 19 feet tall.
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it is one of my favorite trees. this special joining forces tree is covered with had decorated ornaments made by military children living in u.s. bases around the world. we spent months gathering these beautiful ornaments and guests will be able to take the time and read the messages and hear from these kids directly as they tour the white house. in addition to these unique attributes to our military families, we also have many of the traditional holiday
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favorites built around our central theme. the custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960's went first lady jacqueline kennedy created in nutcracker themed christmas for her daughter caroline. in -- this year's theme is joy to all. it celebrates the joy of giving and service to others. the joy of sharing our blessings with one another and of course the joy of welcoming our friends and family as guests into our homes over the -- over these next several weeks. we have continued the tradition of decorating trees throughout the house. we have 54 trees in the white house. that is a lot of trees. they reflect the theme, including four trees in the grand foyer, the area out here, trimmed with ornaments paying tribute to the holiday legacies of the former first ladies dating back to jackie kennedy.
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some of them are replicas but there are a few that are original ornaments and they are tagged. some of them are mine, some of them are laura bushs's and the key is sense of what christmas felt like in other administrations. of course keeping with past holiday traditions, we have our annual white house gingerbread house. have you guys seen that yet? our executive pastry chef and his team did a phenomenal job. this white house looks kind of real. what do you all think? we got a thumbs up there. it is beautiful.
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it white house holiday staple since the 1960's, this year's house weighs nearly 300 pounds. it is made to resemble granite so he did some kind of technique and it even includes chandeliers that light up. it glows. like rudolph's nose. it is beautiful and we have a little red book of first lady garden with all the details in a giant bow. that basically represents bows standing in the house. -- beau's standing in the house. also have a special activity prepared for the young people who visit the white house this year. we thought it would be fun to give them a book market checklist that instructs them to find all of the hidden demint located in eight rooms in the white house. we hope that will keep kids busy while parents are looking at christmas cards. these are just a few of this
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year's highlights and i could go on and on but i know we have cookies to decorate and things to do but what i have to tell you is that this would not be possible if it were not for the 85 that does volunteers like jennifer who took time out of their busy lives to come from all parts of the country to help us decorate this house. it happens overnight. literally, once the tree is delivered, it is a matter of days before this house is transformed into what you see. it is because people like jennifer who come in and build bonds and share stories about their grandchildren and they are as dedicated as jennifer is to
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making this house beautiful. we are just so grateful to have some many people willing to take time out of their lives and invest in this house for so many to see. so it's gonna be a great holiday for everyone and we are just excited to have visitors come through. this is our official opening. throughout the holiday season, more than 90,000 people will come from around the world to see this house. i cannot imagine a better way to get things kick off than by having all of you here with us. with that, i want to again thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and your sacrifice. i do hope that your holiday season is truly special. that you really use this time to reflect and come together. so many of us in this country will use your lives as
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inspiration as we sit around our trees and tables and think about all the we have and all that you all are sacrificing to make sure we live in freedom and harmony. we are truly grateful to all of you. the thank you. now, you guys ready? to have some fun? i will ask all of our kids, you guys are gonna come with me. make you rise. we have activities planned. parents, not despair. your children will be safe. we will bring that back, maybe a little bird year but it will be happy. a little bit of a sugar high, maybe. try not to glue and lick at the same time. let's go. we will see you all shortly. thank you so much. happy holidays.
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>> as president obama begins his second term in office, what is the most important issue to consider? >> make a short video about your message to the president. >> de student video competition with the grand prize of $5,000, $50,000 in total prizes. >> coming up on c-span, a look at some of the recent christmas festivities. up next, the first lady showcasing the decorations. if then the lighting of the congressional district -- christmas tree in the capital. then president obama and the first family. on tomorrow morning's washington journal, elected the biggest
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foreign policy events for 2012. and the biggest political stories of 2012 with a political analyst on williams. every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> the taping system was top secret. it seems the only people that knew for certain where my father, his secretary, and the secret service agents that installed it. and other presidential recording systems were revealed. the concept of secret taping can seem problematic, but it is beyond doubt that it is a unique and invaluable historical resource. on the states, history unfolds in real time in the most dramatic possible way.
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with your the confrontations of the civil-rights movement and the life or death situations we made a during the cuban missile crisis. >> the discussion of the recordings of the late president in the oval office. >> michele obama and to white house chefs recently held a demonstration of holiday crafts with children in the state dining room. >> will also have different ornaments made by artists in chicago. and all of the other ornaments on the tree here have been from previous years. them in areuse
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different format. the rest of the ornaments came from other trees in the white house. 60% of the ornaments are recycled from previous years. pardon me? >> [inaudible] >> all trees in the house. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> that is super cute. it would you think? you'll be able to take some of these, and put them on your tree. or the window. what do you think? you take a red and and you string it through. you put it through. can you do that. twist the upper, have you threaded the needle before? >> be want to make above? >> hi ed, make and not at the end because you can make get
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along or you can make it short. the want to try it? i like your timing issue. crossover and then make another knot. >> that looks perfect. >> there you go. that is the same thing. i like the way the you come by in the strings. that is a good idea. very gifted, good thinking. it very creative. it is one of the few portraits of president lincoln. you should see the movie lincoln, it talks about history and -- you guys are going to switch stations.
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but as soon as everybody finishes over here. you are cold? come here. we need to snuggle. are you warmer? have you seen that before? you like being able to do that? where do they put their ornaments? are they ready to move? i am going to go check out the next station. just let them know when they are ready to move. everything looks great. it is good to see you.
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i love the gingerbread house. it is the best ever. it is amazing. how did you do that? what is that process? >> [inaudible] >> wow. yes, it's granite. what is the activity? nice. look at your name. lola. l.l. this was already -- look, it's soft. like a real bird. i like the way that you put some on the bird, too. that is a good idea. you put some silver sprinkles.
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i like yours, too. i'm going to try to do a little. the pomegranate is kind of soft. i did not realize. what should i do? an m? i'll do m.o. this is hard. i have to twist it? thank you for that. i was told that i need to twist it. a little more? i am ready to go. i am ready. m's are hard to do.
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>> so are r's. >> it takes a little patience. all right. you see how much patience it takes to do this. yes, absolutely. all right. do think? -- do you think? does it spell out --
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all right, you are right. we will try. thank you, guys. this is much better. oh, yeah, this is much better. m.o. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, you end up ignoring them. it is true, it is a good
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question. but they are here a lot. i am going to do a heart. thank you. i will do a heart on the other side. this is fun. i have m.o. and a heart. there is a little bit, a little mixed up. i will put mine in the center. i will check out what they are doing at the next table and i will be back. thank you. thank you. you do look familiar.
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where have i seen you before? you ask a good question. i do. it is good to see you. you do this all the time, don't you? >> sometimes. >> what is going on? it is great to see you. you guys are going to show me. show me what we are doing, how do we do it? what kind of lollipops are these? do you know that the white house study comes from these that we keep in the backyard? because the honey is fresh and the health the garden. they help pollinate the plants and the garden. the help plants grow. >> we are making healthy ones
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with candy and vegetables. this is a real icing. try the carriage -- carrot chips. >> did you taste these? this is good. these are really good. did you put a little sugar on them? >> they make little ornamental -- >> how do you make it curly? >> when you they get over 100 degrees, they flay inside the oven. it gives a good crunch for salad. >> we ought to give the photographers some of these so that they can see how good carrots taste. those are so good. healthy, tasty snacks.
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not bad. this is so good. we decorate. now i have to figure out what design. my goodness, this is so complicated. decisions, decisions. what to do. >> this is all edible, ok, guys? >> and once you put this on, you can eat the lollipop. i love this. oh, my gosh. copying yours.
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>> so how old are you guys? what are the ages? eight, six and a half, the half is critical. ten? palace school going for you guys? boring? you sound like sasha. what do you want for christmas? a wii game? what's a wii u? she's good. what does it do? she is good. >> [inaudible] >> you can turn on a different tv show. >> that sounds cool. i did not know anything about that. who else has stuff that they want? a new phone? an ipod?
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sasha wants a phone. she can't have one yet. you want an ipod and a phone? if she needed -- she can't call anyone? it is one of those funds? there are times to have a phone and then when you get a phone, you don't want a fund. you don't want everyone calling you. you need a new battery? what else? what else do you guys want for christmas? you want to boots? what kind? you want high heels? let me see your shoes. what do you have on? that would go well with that address.
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you want more? .hat is a decent heel i do not know any of this. what is that? you know, that means you have everything you need. >> and maybe you should share with what you have. >> is an idea. all right. this would be my lollipop. what do you guys think? >> oh, guys, put up your lollipops. let's show the crew. we have a lollipop, healthy, edible, delightful.
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and the blue is icing. >> did we taste this? >> you can taste this. >> it's good. we have got another surprise. hey, man, hi, man, hi, man, hi, how are you? you want to come say hello? you guys want to see? ok. yeah, absolutely, he is all clean. he just got cleaned. hi, man. hi, man. hi, yeah, i know. i know. there you go. ok, just make sure you watch his
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tail. yeah, is a good boy. i know, i know. i know. i know, they are all great kids. he probably has tasted some icing on your fingers, and he just had a bath, so he is really clean. i know. >> is very fluffy. >> i know. you are getting so much love, getting so much love. so much. all right, let's go, we will let him say hi to all the camera people, too. did everybody get a chance to feel him? he is a little puppy. you have three? what kind do you have? oh, i love german shepherds and
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colleaies. >> he doesn't shed? >> he doesn't shed. oh, what's that? bo, you can see he has blue skin on the bottom, too. he is a boy. if you part it, it is not as blue as yours. i do not know. i do not know. yeah, i love shepherds. he is a portuguese water dog. yeah, he loves to swim at. -- to swin. yeah, yeah?
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that could be it. that could be it. you want to come in? if you guys have had a pet, let somebody else come in. you want to hold a leash? just make sure he is smelling food. yeah. you guys are very good with him, you are very gentle. he is so calm. he is so gentle. oh, my goodness, when did that happen? yeah? come here, come around here, and let me show you something. when you need a dog, the best
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thing is to let him smell you, just put your arm out, you know, so you never just want to reach for a dog you do not know. and then you see what the dog is like, because if he is really calm like bo, then you can pet his head. oh, my goodness. do you like dogs? i am glad that you are not afraid of dogs. all dogs are capable of biting, but not all dogs do. you guys want to finish? did everybody get a chance? make sure, because you want to make sure you get one of everything, ok? thank you, sweetie. all right, i know you guys want to see bo. yeah. you want to say hi to the guys? up close and personal?
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that is a good one. what are you going to do with that shot? aryou guys, happy holidays. good to see you. thanks so much. banks so much. you guys got a good bo viewing. they no longer care. how are you? just opening the house to visitors. we are going to have more than 90,000 people here, and the kids being able to experience the wonders of this house is really a blessing. we are ready to get to work. all right, you guys come out ok, guys, i am going to go. happy holidays! >> bye! >> make sure you get an ornament and a lollipop, ok?
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bye, sweetie. thanks so much. by, gorgeous. bye, sweetie, keep up with school, ok? work hard. thanks so much. it is great to have you guys here. bye-bye. [indiscernbile] that names sounds familiar. is that your mom? i know she is proud of you. you have a great christmas cannot babe. this was really good. i am leading to much to. i have to go to a meeting. bye, sweetness. it is great to see you again. bye, gorgeous. thanks for sharing these holidays with us. all right, you guys, thanks. bye-bye. could it doggy -- good doggy.
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>> i think the idea that was promoted in certain articles, and there was a conflation of politics, the spectrum of political affiliations on the staff were from the far left to the far right, but the idea that there was an agenda, which was the charge being forwarded, that the midwife of public policy was absurd, which is not to say that if there was an issue, if in fact our content was affecting the behavior of interrogators in the field, even if was .05% in taker -- interrogators' taking their cues
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and disabuseer -- them of the fact that this is a television show. it is a television show, but i may be pollyannas about this, but the fact that "24" became the political football it became was a valuable thing. but tonight come on c-span, how movies and television's portrayal politics and policy makers. followed by george will. and it 10:50, james taylor on c- span. >> tomorrow morning, and look at the biggest foreign policy events of two dozen top. our guest is lie lake. and the biggest political
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stories of 2012, with juan williams. "washington journal" every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. c-span spoke with two retiring lawmakers. mr. burton served in congress for 30 years, and in the 1990's chaired the house oversight committee. senator conrad has been in office for 20 years and chairs the budget committee. the interview with burden is that endicott wednesday night -- is at 8:00 wednesday night. john boehner with the capitol christmas tree. this year's tree is from the white river national forest in colorado.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> good evening, everyone. and welcome to the 48th annual capitol christmas tree lighting ceremony. i am the architect of the capitol and i am honored to serve as your master of ceremonies tonight. for everyone's safety, we ask that you stay in your seat until the conclusion of the program. this event to officially kick off the holiday season here on capitol hill. and even though the weather doesn't feel like it's december 4, nothing says christmas like the playing of festive holiday carols.
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i would like to extend a special thank you to the united states air force band under the direction of peter foliard and created this great and festive holiday mood. let's give them a hand, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> and behind me stands the u.s. capitol's christmas tree, a majestic 73-foot spruce from colorado's white river national forest. [cheers and applause] >> and in keeping with tradition, the speaker of the house, the honorable john boehner, will extend his holiday greetings to you and officially light this remarkable tree in a few moments. but before we get to that big
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moment, i'd like to welcome members of congress and capitol hill neighbors and those of you who are visiting our nation's capital. thank you for joining us this evening. i would like to acknowledge members of the colorado delegation in attendance this evening including senator mark udall, senator michael bennett, congressman scott tipton as well as former senator ben nighthorse campbell. [cheers and applause] >> and senator campbell, of course, drove that tree 5,500 miles to washington dis-- d.c. [cheers and applause] >> now this incredibly beautiful tree has been decorated with ornaments crafted by colorado residents which
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reflect the theme celebrating our great outdoors. and speaking of ornaments, the u.s. capitol historical society produces a beautiful one to place upon this tree. and at this time, i would like to welcome its president, mr. ronald serrison. [applause] >> thank you very much. and ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker, it is our pleasure, the u.s. capitol historical society every year to produce an ornament placed on this tree. it is important because it is our 50th anniversary. the society was founded in 1962. it is a scene, a winter scene of the capitol dome with snow and so forth. very beautiful. you can purchase it at www.uschs.org.
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thank you very much for allowing us to be part of the program. >> thank you, ron. [applause] >> thank you so much, ron. and for more than 40 years, the u.s. forest service and architect of the capitol have partnered to bring a christmas tree to the capitol from one of our nation's 155 national forests. i would like to specifically thank the dedicated forest service staff from both here in washington and in colorado who helped make this event possible. and let's give them a round of applause. [applause] >> joining us this evening is the honorable sherman, under secretary for natural resources and environment at the u.s. department of agriculture.
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he has a holiday message to share with you as well. [applause] >> speaker boehner, senators udall and bennett, congressman tipton and distinguished guests, on behalf of the secretary, tom vilsack and our chief of the forest service, i would like to say a few words if i can. each year, the capitol christmas tree comes from the u.s. forest service, which is an agency within usda and eachier we -- each year we select that tree from a different forest. this tree is from a small town called meeker, colorado in the white river national forest in the high mountain areas of colorado.
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73 it's a spruce tree and feet tall and happens to be 74 years old. it's only the third time in colorado's history that colorado has provided the capitol christmas tree and i'm particularly proud of that since i'm a colorado resident. yay, colorado! [cheers and applause] >> we call this the people's tree for good reason and that's because it comes from our public lands, which are owned by all the people of the united states. and these are lands that provide recreation, wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air and the opportunity to connect with the great outdoors. so this occasion tonight also gives us the opportunity to recognize some of the challenges that we have with our national forests, particularly the wildland fires we experienced last summer and the bark beetle. this tree reminds us if we work
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together and restore the health and the resiliency of these ecosystems, we can produce a new generation of healthy trees that will grow to be as magnificent as the tree behind me. we can work together at the local and national level and private-public partnerships and we can work together to bring this tree to you tonight. as we celebrate the holiday season, i ask that we take a moment to remember our brave men and women in our armed forces, a high proportion of them are from rural america and many of them are overseas today away from their homes and families so we can be safe and free. we thank them for their service. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you so much.
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this tree has been on a tremendous journey. in fact, it traveled 5,500 across the country from colorado. and just nine days ago, the tree arrived here on the west front of the capitol and our dedicated capitol grounds crew went to work to decorate it. didn't they do a fantastic job? [applause] >> let me also thank our capitol grounds superintendent who had the tough task of selecting just one tree from the many beautiful trees found in the white river national forest. next, ladies and gentlemen, it's my honor and pleasure to introduce congressman scott tipton. he has been serving the people of the 3rd district of colorado in the u.s. house of representatives since 2010.
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congressman tipton. [applause] >> thank you, steve. i would like to thank the secretary for his kind comments and i think it's important to note in addition to our united states senators, we are joined by the entire colorado delegation. our members of congress, diana degette, jared polis, cory gardner and congressman perlmutter. i had the great privilege to be with our former senator in the shadow of the rocky mountains where this tree once stood and we now have the high privilege of standing in the shadow of the capitol of the united states of america to be able to celebrate this season. when we went to carve that tree, we were joined there by members of the ute tribes. they are inherent to our area. the people of the ute tribes,
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they have a word that things are good -- to make sure that all is good. native american culture, it's about wind, about the sky, the land, and water. and from that, growth and life comes. this tree, which will represent the spirit of the state of colorado and indeed our nation speaks also to the importance as the secretary noted of forest health. in the state of colorado, we have many challenges this last summer, with wildfires that destroyed property and indeed took lives. the importance of our forests we cannot overstate. proper responsible management to be able to get in and deal and create these healthy forests is essential for the beauty of our state and our nation.
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i would like to express to you from the people of the great state of colorado who are so proud to be able to have this tree represented in our nation's capitol, their heartiest merry christmas and happy holidays and god bless you all during this holiday season. [applause] >> it's my high honor to be able to introduce a colleague and friend and senator from the great state of colorado, michael bennett. [applause] >> thank you everybody. it may not look like it, we are voting on the defense authorize age built. my job is to get from here to there before they close it and senator udall will follow me and give you a more proper talk. let me first say welcome to the rest of the colorado delegation
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and welcome to everyone who is here from colorado and welcome to washington, d.c., for this great night. all i want to say is thank you. there are people back in colorado who made it possible from officials working on the white river national forest to our native american friends and congressman tipton mentioned, to ben nighthorse campbell, who drove this truck across the country in a mack truck. those who are familiar or not familiar with a mack truck don't think it will fit, but he made it happen. when it came to denver, my kids' first question was, dad, why can't you drive that truck? so thank you for that, senator campbell. and i want to say a profound thank you to speaker boehner and for the architect of the capitol who organized this event. this was a ton of work for a
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lot of people in our state. we are very proud of this tree being here and on behalf of the state of colorado, let me make the offer that we would like to do this every single year. finally, it's a great honor for me and it is and this isn't political talk, to introduce my senior senator, my friend, somebody -- there is no greater champion for forest health, special places in our state than mark udall. but he outdid himself when he went on a survey to find not particularly this tree, but a suitable tree, to stand here in front of the capitol years and years of mountaineering made that possible. which give you the senior senator from the state of colorado, mark udall. [applause] >> i let senator bennett know he had to vote right.
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we will conference the defense authorization and get it to the president's desk. but we are here to celebrate the people's tree and that term was coined by one of the speakers, great predecessors, tip o'neill, he was here and lit the michigan tree and he declared that it would be an emblem of peace for the nation and the world. purpose's exactly the among many that this tree rements. since 1970, every capitol christmas tree has been cut from national forests from across our great country. it is 73 feet. engel man spruce has been cut from the white river national
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forest in meeker, colorado. and this has been a statewide celebration when we were chosen as the state from which the tree would come this year and i'm really glad to be here with you tonight. i want to express my gratitude to the ute tribes that are represented here today. their homelands were 1,500 years, they lived in these lands. i would like to acknowledge the utes, because they are a heritage. [applause] >> i have a long speech and normally, i would shorten it because it would be cold out here. for every degree under zero, your speech has to be reduced by one minute, but we do have a wonderful warm evening in which to celebrate this very important and moving event.
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i want to thank a number of participants who were involved in coordinating tonight's event. mack trucks, the colorado tourism office [applause] >> national association of convenience stores and vail resorts. these organizations all played a significant role in helping choose outdoors, which is the name of the organization and the national forest service to safely deliver this magnificent spruce from our own white river national forest. i'm proud to welcome fourth generation cheryl st. john, the winner of this year's art contest with our entry "awaiting spring." cheryl's appreciation for nature and environmental preservation can easily be seen through her artwork. congratulations are also in order for the winner of the capitol christmas tree song competition, lindsay lawler who
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wrote the song "standing tall." she is going to follow me and you will be very moved by this song and the way in which she will sing it to us. let's give her a round of applause, too. [applause] >> as i conclude, i hopefully don't have a long speech, i want to conclude in the same vein that congressman tipton and others, as we gaze upon the beauty of the people's tree may we stand here and remember that this tree is a symbol of our mission to protect and cherish our forests and there is important work to be done to ensure our forests remain vibrant. we have seen in our state the effects of climate change from ongoing drought to weather conditions that have contributed to devastating wildfires and i look forward to working with my colleagues in congress to address this challenge.
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in just a few minutes, we will see ryan shuster flip the switch and officially light the 2012 united states capitol christmas tree. he is an eagle scout and shares my great love for the out of doors. i met your mother and father earlier today and what an honor for you to be part of this. as i make way for the speaker, i house. some days, i miss the house, mr. speaker. i want to again thank you for being here and i hope you get a chance to see the beautiful ornaments up close. over 5,000 of them and hand made by the children of colorado and adults from corner of colorado to the other. so think of it as a way of wishing you a happy holiday season from colorado. we are proud to have the tree here from the great state of colorado. and i'll turn it back over to the architect of the capitol.
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[applause] udall. to now it's my pleasure introduce, ms. lindsay lawler. she is the winner of the u.s. forest service song writing contest to create the official song for the capitol christmas tree and will be singing her original composition "standing tall." lindsay. [applause] >> thank you. this is a privilege to be here and i have never been here to washington, d.c., and it's my birthday. so this is pretty special and privilege to be here with you. merry christmas.
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♪ ♪ a cathedral past tennessee river carolina rain all wide open road carried to home be a light in the dark for us all standing tall standing tall
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godly heavens angels above through your great wisdom and power protect the great land for us all be a light in the dark dark starts to fall standing tall standing tall like the soldier who laid down their life so we all have the freedom we all have the right to believe in this dream for us all standing tall standing tall
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when we think of the soldier who laid down their life so we all have the freedom we all have the right to believe in this dream for us all standing tall standing tall standing tall ♪ ♪ ♪ thank you so much.
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merry christmas. [applause] >> wow! that was magnificent. ladies and gentlemen, it's now my privilege to introduce the speaker of the house, john boehner has served the people of the 8th district in ohio and in congress since 1990 and held numerous leadership roles over the years. in january, 2011, he became the 53rd speaker of the house. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable john boehner. [applause] >> well, steve, let me just say
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thanks to you and your team and the architect's office and the grounds crew have done a great job inputting this together. and let me thank the colorado delegation for being here. i would take credit for the weather. [laughter] >> but i thought the senators would do it before i did. [laughter] >> lindsay, great job and i'm glad we have nice weather so you could wear that pretty dress without having to put a big overcoat on it. let me say thank you to all of you here tonight. this great spruce has traveled many miles. thanks to ben and his partner who brought the tree from colorado here. it's christmastime and it's the splendor of this tree calls to mind the star of bethlehem and the chance of the angels announcing a humble birth in a
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manger. the birth of christ fulfilled, the prophecy of salvation and giving a weary world a chance to rejoice and we will bring light to the tree that flour issues as a symbol of everlasting life. this tree will bring light to us, opening our hearts a little more to the needs of our neighbors and the conven ants we have made with one other. the celebration of christmas is not merely a story that occurred a long time ago. i think the real mystery is having that story reborn in our souls just as the shepards were stirred by the angels singing "glory to god in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill toward men." i offer you this simple phrase. god bless us, everyone. and from my family to yours, merry christmas. [applause]
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>> enough of the talk and enough of the speeches, let's get on with lighting the tree. senator udall introduced our guest tonight. he is ryan shuster from colorado springs and he is a high school senior, more importantly, he's an eagle scout. so ryan, why don't you come up here and join me. there he is. there he is. button your coat. come on. [laughter] >> ryan, pictures last forever. now, here's the switch. lead us in a countdown starting with five. >> five, four, three, two, one. >> yay!
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[band playing o christmas tree] ["o tannenbaum" plays] >> thank you so much speaker boehner. the colorado congressional congressional delegation and
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the united states air force band and lighting of the u.s. capitol tree. i wish you a merry christmas and a good night. [cheers and applause] >> the senate returns for business on thursday, and the house as a pro forma session that day. the senate in at 10:00 a.m. eastern to work on two bills. the first extends provisions of the fi set back. -- fisa act.
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you can follow senate on c- span2. negotiations in the house continue with the fiscal cliff. >> i think the idea promoted in certain articles, and there was a confessional politics, because joel is a public conservative, the spectrum of political affiliations on the staff were from the far left to the far right to. there was no agenda. there was no agenda. the idea that there was an i jet that was absurd. it is absurd. is it is not to say that if there was an issue, if our content was affecting the
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behavior of interrogators of the field, even if it was .05% of the interrogators taking their views, it was a systemic problem that i suggested we try to intervene on behalf of those people. and to try to disabuse them of the fact that this is a television show. and is a television show. i may be pollyannish, the fact that "24" became the political football was a valuable thing. tonight, how movies and politics andortray policy makers. then george will. and at 10:50, singer and songwriter james taylor. >> president obama and the first
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family participated in the 90th annual national christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this month. the tradition started in 1923 president calvin coolidge. this year's tree is a 30-foot blue spruce from virginia. >> merry christmas, everybody! >> it is great to see you all. happy holidays. happy holidays, mr. president. >> is it time? i think it's time. i hope everybody is ready. we have to do the countdown. >> i hope everybody is ready. starting with five -- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- [cheers]
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♪ ["o tannenbaum" plays] >> merry christmas, everybody. ♪
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>> please welcome director of washington st. john's church. >> let us bow our heads in prayer. let us pray. gracious god who has blessed us with this good land for our heritage, we pray that we may always prove ourselves to be a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. we pray that you will save us from violence, discord and confusion, from pride, arrogance and fear of each other, defend our liberties and people the multitudes brought here out of many nations and languages. we pray that you will shower with your life giving spirit those to whom we have entrusted the authority of our government, that there may be justice and peace at home and that we may be a blessing to all the nations of the world.
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in the time of prosperity, fill our parties with thankfulness and in the day of trouble let us not lose our trust in you. let this national tree be a reminder that in some inexplicable way you are standing with us at all times. all this we ask in your most holy name, amen. >> good evening. on behalf of the national park foundation and national park service it is a great privilege to present the national christmas tree lighting. just steps from here 90 years ago this grand tradition began as a small group of people gathered together to celebrate the holiday season in our nation. through the years the tradition has continued, in times of peace and war and times of prosperity and hardship.
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steadfast for 90 years we have come here. tonight we gather again to honor this moment and this place. it's part of the great american story. our nation is woven together by moments and places such as these, each with a unique story to share, places that tell the world around us like death valley and yellow stone. and the place honor as well as come rate our greatest sacrifices, the statute of liberty, pearl harbor, flight 93, these places, these stories are protected by the national park service.
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however, these places do not exist if not for you. the dedicated individuals throughout time that have gathered to safe guard and share the story of america. now in our 45th year the national park foundation is proud to carry on this legacy. it's a non-profit partner of the national parks. we invite you to join us in telling the story of america so that these moments and special places are here tomorrow and for generations to come. now, here to share a story of the season, please join me in welcoming the first laid of the united states of america, michelle obama. -- first lady of the united states, michelle obama. [applause]
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>> thank you. you're such a gentleman. >> thank you. >> how are you doing? >> we're going to read a story. what do you think we're going to read? >> "'twas the night before christmas." >> we're going to take turns this year, ok. you ready? >> yes. >> "'twas the night before christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. >>the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that st. nicholas soon would be there. >>the children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. and mama in her 'kerchief and i in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. >> when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, i sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. away to the window i flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
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>> the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below. when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. >> with a little old driver so lively and quick, i knew in a moment it must be st. nick. more rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name! >> "now dasher! now, dancer! now, prancer and vixen! on, comet! on, cupid! on, on donner and blitzen! >> to the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" >> as dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky. >> so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys and st. nicholas, too. >> and then, in a twinkling i heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. >> as i drew in my head
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and was turning around, down the chimney st. nicholas came with a bound. >> he was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. >> a bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. >> his eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! >> his droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. >> the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. he had a broad face -- >> he had a brod face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly! >> he was chubby and plump
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a right jolly old elf, and i laughed when i saw him in spite of myself! >> a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know i had nothing to dread. >> he spoke not a word but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings then turned with a jerk. and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod up the chimney he rose! >> he sprang to his sleigh to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. >> but i heard him exclaim 'ere he drove out of sight, >> "happy christmas to all and to all a good night!" [applause] >> mr. president and first lady and first family and all of you who are here, on behalf of the entire united states department of interior and park service, we are honored to be here with all of you this christmas season, a tradition today that dates back 90 years and a tradition that brings us to this special place to light our nation's
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spirit of peace, hope, and joy. from coast to coast from sea to shining sea, the national park service weaves together the tapestry that helps us tell the story of all of america and all of her people. presidents park is one such thread in this great tapestry. thank you to the men and women of the national park service who protect our natural and cultural heritage for ourselves and future generations to enjoy each and every day. you are the guardians of the 3,998 crown jewels that come price america's best ideas. tonight we come together yet again in this national park with family and friends to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of this very special season. what started here with a few thousand people almost 90 years ago, this event is now watched by millions and millions of
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people all around the united states and around the globe. so this evening let us welcome in the season of joy, once again, resolving to be peace makers and resolving to care for those around us, especially those who are in the greatest need. tonight we are blessed as a nation to have a president barack obama as the leader of our nation and as the leader of the free world. in him i know a heart that delineates the great example of christ whose birthday we celebrate across this world. in the president i know a man whose life of service started a long time ago helping those who were voiceless have a voice to live their god given potential. and today as president of these united states, he works hire
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easily every day in the spirit of service for all of the people of our nation to help build the world where all of god's people will have the opportunity to live their lives showered with the blessings endowed upon them by our creator. so it is with great, great joy and pride that i am honored to introduce to all of you the 44th president of the united states of america, barack obama. ♪ >> merry christmas, everybody. michelle told me to be brief because she wants to hear music. thank you for that generous
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introduction and for your dedication to protecting our natural resources. i want to thank the whole national park foundation and the national park service team for helping to put on this beautiful production. let's give a big hand to kneel patrick harris and this evening's performers for putting on a fantastic show. and i want to thank all of you for joining us in this tradition. >> we have been lighting the national christmas tree for 90 years now, in times of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, we've always come together to rejoice in the christmas miracle. but our tree has been having a hard time recently. this is our third one. our long standing tree was lost
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in a storm. and then its replacement didn't take hold. goes to show nobody's job is safe here in washington. but i feel good about this one. it was planted just days before hurricane sandy and it made it through the storm in one piece. now we know that some of our neighbors to the north saw a more ruthless and destructive sandy. and this holiday season is especially difficult for families who lost everything in the storm. it's also time for us to be grateful for the thousands of men and women in the storm's path that show us that americans will always be stronger than the challenges we face. as i did before thanksgiving i can't help but tell a story of their holiday spirit.
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in midland beach new york on a street lines with businesses devastated by the storm. a big christmas tree shines out of the darkness. just a couple of weeks ago as impacted families were seeking some sense of getting back to normal, one local nursery donated the tree and another chipped in for the lights and star. and 70-year-old tom and his long-time buddies from the area planted it at the end of the street overlooking the town beach. as tom says, the tree has one message. it's christmas time, not disaster time. and tom is right. for centuries the message of christmas, of peace and goodwill to all has guided millions of people around the world through good times but
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also through bad times. this year is no different. it's a chance for all of us to open our hearts to the least fortune among us. -- fortunate among us. to remember what christ taught us that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. that the simplest gives wring the greatest joy. it's a chance to count our blessings and give thanks to our service members who defend them. for americans from all backgrounds and beliefs may this season remind us of the spirit that united states us as citizens. -- that unites us as citizens. and may every tree across the country shine as a beacon of hope for all americans. so on behalf of the entire family, i'd like to wish each and every one of you a very and every one of you a very merry christmas and a peaceful

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